Wednesday, May 27, 2009

How to make Candied Winter Melon aka Tung Kua(冬瓜糖)

It has been a long while since we last made the candied winter melon (冬瓜糖) at home. In most instances it is easier to purchase commercially glazed melon when it is required. Furthermore it takes about at least three to five days before it is ready to be used. Even through, I still want to share this recipe with those people who want to have homemade candied winter melon and for Ange of France, who may have difficulty buying them. Besides its many culinary uses such as making the rice dumpling filling, it is often included in the circular or octagonal nuts and candied fruits tray during the Chinese New Year. This tray is offered to all guests to eat while visiting and is called the “eight treasures tray” to bring good luck for the New Year.

Candied or crystallized winter melon is made by cooking it in heavy syrup until it becomes transparent. Basically the method is simply to place the melon in increasingly stronger solutions of heated sugar syrup, and the syrup gradually replaces the water content of the melon. This is not an easy procedure, since the concentration of the syrup must be carefully controlled. The syrup must penetrate to the inside of the fruit so that the fruit can be preserved to keep for a long period. The procedure involves the following:

Remove the outer green skin of the wintermelon and cut approximately 500g winter melon into 5cm sticks just like potato chips.
Blanched melon by putting into a pot of fresh water with 1 tsp of baking soda, and bring to a rapid boil for 1 minutes.
Transfer the melon to a colander to drain.
Heat 750g of sugar with ½ Litre of water in a shallow pan until dissolved.
Bring the syrup to the boil. Turn down heat to low.
Transfer the drained melon to the pot of syrup.
Press a round of greaseproof paper on top of the melon to immerse the fruit in the syrup.
Bring the syrup slowly to a simmer and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes; do not let it boil.
Take the pan from the heat and allow cooling.
Leave it in the syrup for 24 hours whilst leaving the fruit undisturbed.
Carefully lift the fruit from the syrup and leave to drain for 30 minutes.
Transfer the fruit to paper towels and leave until dry,and store in an airtight container.


  1. yum.... this one is best. no added "extra" ingredients!

  2. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. It is sometimes hard to find candied wintermelon in Canada, especially away from Chinese New Year.Now I know I can make it, I never have to worry about stocking up.

  3. Thank you so much for this! Every website I've found gives incorrect information e.g. puree, mash... I've been trying to make Wife cake filling and have gotten nowhere. Today I find your site and have cited your page on Wikipedia pages: Wintermelon; Sweetheart cake


  4. Hi Holly,
    Thanks for your visit and comment. Hope that you find the recipe useful and don't forget to share "loh Por Peng" with us!

  5. Hi...why when i blench, the wintermelon sticks became saggy and translucent? and they dont appear like yours...

  6. Hi Anonymous,
    Please watch the time for blanching and remove from heat immediately.

  7. Hey Uncle Phil. It is possible to use the same method with watermelon rind?

    1. Hi BoPui,
      That's an interesting suggestion! I am always into frugal living and I have only used watermelon rind in a nonya's recipe "masak titik" which is our favourite soup in summer when the watermelon is in abundant. Please have a go and let us know the result.

    2. Hey Uncle Phil,
      I tried using the watermelon rinds, and they turned out too wet and refused to crystallize. So I reheated and reduced the syrup from before, until the liquid was more sticky and tipped them in. I've just gone to look at them, and they have crystallized perfectly. However I haven't tasted them.. kind of cautious about the saccharine looking rinds.
      Anyway.. that was the result. :)

  8. Could it be sliced thinly instead of "stick-style"...more like candied ginger?

    1. Hi Rachel,
      Yes it can be sliced but at least 5mm thick.


  9. Hi, Uncle Phil.
    I've found a site where in it says it needs alum powder so it would hardened. Is it safe to use?

    1. It is correct that alum powder helps to harden it. Like all food additives it has to be used according to the manufacturer direction.